Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Intro to Black Metal

When I say this is "my" intro, I'm talking about the way I was first introduced to the sub-genre. When I very first started getting into metal, I found myself doing a lot on searching online to find additional info. Thus, it was Wikipedia that first introduced the terms 'black metal', 'death metal', 'doom metal', and various others to my vocabulary. Of course, this meant that my definitions of these styles required some work, but we all have to start somewhere.

Anyway, in the course of these searches I of obviously encountered all the various stories surrounding Mayhem and the Norwegian scene, and unsurprisingly this formed my initial idea of what black metal was. Well, coming from a Christian upbringing and having only just begun listening to heavy music, I was understandably rather uncomfortable with that image of back metal, so for a while I avoided it. The Gothenburg sound became my major window into the metal world, pulling me past the nu-metal and -core bands that had motivated my interest in heavier music. Sweden became my musical base of operations, so to speak, and my tastes went from there, primarily into various forms of death metal.

Up until that point, though, I still had never really listened to any "real" black metal. And by that I mean I had heard some blackened edges of things, but I had not heard anything in the raw, pure vein, nor had I listened to any of the central bands from Norway.

Unsurprisingly, it was through a Swedish band that I first became acquainted with "real" black metal. However, it's not who one would expect. Of course it wasn't long until I'd heard Dissection and Naglfar, and shortly thereafter Emperor became my official musical introduction to the Norwegian scene, but before any of those came a lone song by a band with whom almost nobody is familiar. It was Niden Div. 187 on a track called Genocide, and to be honest I kind of hated it the first time I heard it. And the second time. And the eighth time. I didn't actually find myself enjoying their sound until years later, yet when I think back that band and that song was the sole example of genuine black metal in my music collection for probably six months. And it remained one of only a few such examples for several years.

Oddly enough, I learned of Henke Forss through his work with In Flames on Subterranean and through that I found Dawn, but it wasn't until years later that I discovered he was also the vocalist for ND187. The few people who know the band only seem to be familiar with it through him, yet I had known them long before I had ever heard of Dawn or any pre-Anders In Flames material. It was a bit of a reverse from the norm, since ND187 was just a side project, but I guess when you're exploring new territory you sometimes find unused paths.


  1. I already knew metal in general at the time, but I was getting into extreme metal around 2006 (about the same time as you and Metallattorney, if I'm not mistaken). I too did a lot of Wikipedia reading, and it helped me stumble onto a lot of things. Allmusic reviews were another place I learned a lot.

    I also came to black metal a little later. Dimmu Borgir's Death Cult Armageddon was probably my first one that I really liked, but that's symphonic, so it's obviously a bit different. I then got into some more progressive kinds of black metal. But I didn't get my first love of pure black metal until Watain's Sworn to the Dark, in early 2010. And then Marduk and Bathory, before I ever got into the Norwegian side of it.

  2. Yeah, that would be about the same time as me, depending on how exactly you define "extreme" metal.